The Farmhouse


The small crack in the window let in enough snow-covered air to cool down the humid kitchen. She had one loaf of bread in the oven and was kneading a second. He built this kitchen just for her. She baked in it every weekend just for him. 

She tucked a loose piece of hair behind her ear when she heard the front door. He was back with more firewood. More cool air from outside came in with him. He walked into the kitchen, stood behind her and wrapped his arms around her waist. She stopped her work, closed her eyes and inhaled him. He smelled like trees and snow and the deepest, darkest nights. 

The farmhouse was a soft yellow on the outside, with a kitchen of the same color. Those were her only requests all those years ago. The rest was up to him. He used a mix of oaks, maples and pines. He included a breakfast nook, a fireplace and a room just for her when she wanted to read. 

Twenty years had passed. Twenty Christmases. Forty birthdays. Fifty-two weekends of escape, even if only for dinner. This place was their own. No children. No friends or relatives. Just the two of them. 

He built it for her and she loved him in it, endlessly.

She put the second loaf in the oven while he hung up his coat. 

A fresh fire was lit and they snuggled in their established places by the fire. 

Her head nuzzled into his chest, in its usual position. She listened to his heartbeat and smelled his sweater that had hints of cedar and smoke. The heartbeat was slower than usual. She knew to treasure it. Knew it wouldn't last forever.

He ran his fingers through her hair. Inhaled its hints of coconut and lavender. He kissed her head, knowing he would not always have that chance. He studied each strand of her hair, wished he could memorize each one. Wished he could imprint each strand into his memory to keep with him until the end. He inhaled her again and pulled her in closer. 

The fire heated their bodies, stilled their minds as they lost themselves in the flames. The smell of fresh bread blended with the burning wood, surrounding them. They let the elements take over their senses, if only for a moment. 

This would be their last night by the fire. Their last trip to the farmhouse. Their last embrace. They held each other and fought to record the moment. To hold it tight and never forget. Each smell. Each sound. Each touch. He'd fight to hold on. She'd fight to never let go, to always remember. 

"I love you."


A Dream

The leaves fell to my face and disintegrated before me. That’s how I knew it was a dream. No matter how much he tried to assure me that he was real, I knew it wasn’t real. I looked deep in his eyes and told myself to remember, knowing it wouldn’t last forever.

I was in my high school. There was an escalator and the bottom and top floors were filled with thousands of people, almost like a stadium. The first sign it was a dream. I went to a large high school but not that large, no schools are that large.

There was a drink in my hand and I couldn’t seem to hold onto the ice tea or lemonade or water or whatever it was and proceed up the escalator at the same time. I had no balance. Awkwardly, I held the cup and tried to sip from the plastic straw while gripping the ascending escalator railing with both hands. I crouched over the side, cup and railing in hands and tried to stand up straight and balance myself. I couldn’t. The top was approaching. I saw two boys that I did actually go to high school with descending casually next to me.They were beautiful, even more beautiful in this world.

I reached the top, nervously. How would I get off of this difficult ride? I stumbled, as I surely knew I would. Stumbling was a common occurrence in my dreams, usually in heels. There were no heels this time but a lack of balance all the same.

My body dropped slowly to the ground as the escalator spit me out onto the top floor of the school. Still gripping that damn cup that I just couldn’t seem to let go of, I let my body fall.

Then, he was there. I had a feeling he would be, simply because this was a highly embarrassing moment. That’s always when they appear, isn’t it?

Suddenly, my high school was no longer my high school. It was my college and the top floor of the high school was now one of the grassy fields filled with trees that covered my college campus. We were outside.

He took my hand and helped me up with a smile. I hated how beautiful his smile was. It was his smile that let me know it was a dream. I hated that beauty because I knew it would flee, when I least expected it.

“What are you doing here?” I asked him as we walked through the field.

“I knew you’d be here so I came,” he responded shyly, uncomfortable revealing that truth.

It was hard to believe him. Things that made me blush were always hard to believe.

We walked more and the sensation hit me even stronger. I was fully aware that this was a dream. How strongly you usually don’t know your dreams are fiction is how factually I knew that this would all disappear, that he would disappear. Instead of being sad I instantly told myself to just enjoy it while it lasts.

He knew what I was thinking. I didn’t have to tell him.

“You’re not dreaming. I’m real,” he said, smiling that beautiful, artificial smile, trying his best to reassure me.

His blonde hair was long and scruffy. It settled around his ears and framed his tan face nicely. He looked a bit dirty in his red shirt with white writing that advertised whatever company he worked for. The sleeves were cut off and I could tell he was working hard in the hot sun somewhere before coming to see me. His jeans and boots harbored some specks of color; maybe he was a painter.

In his left hand he held his motorcycle helmet but I didn’t see his bike.

Taking my advice I wrapped both of my arms around his right arm and nestled my face right below his shoulder. The sun glistened on his skin. I inhaled his scent and told myself to remember. Again he heard my thoughts and told me not to worry.

The despair in knowing the dream was a dream became too much weight for me to carry. Letting go of his arm, I dropped to the grassy ground, the sadness shrouding my body with me unable to stop it.

His simulated smile grew into a chuckle as he joined me on the ground, humoring what he perceived to be my dramatic folly.

My face was inches from the ground; the sadness was too heavy and almost pushed my entire head through the grass and dirt. It was too heavy. He stroked my hair and rescued me. I told myself to remember as my head gained some strength. I turned over and lied on my back. The heaviness was easier to bear that way.

He lied down on his back beside me and held my hand. I tried not to cry, tried to focus, tried to remember, store the thoughts for later memories while I was awake.

“What are we doing?” he asked, indulging in the silly fun of this “dream” adventure.

“We’re in the sky now. We’re lying in the sky and looking down on the ground, except, it’s not ground but water. We’re staring at the sea.”

The smiling face turned away from mine and looked up with me as I rolled to my side in order to see what he saw. The waves rippled slowly as a stranded man in a lifeboat washed past our line of sight. This is how I knew for sure that we were indeed in the sky, looking down at the sea. The waves kept passing and I wondered if he could see them, wondered if the sights were the same for him even though it was my dream alone.

“Okay,” he said.

He squeezed my hand and stroked my skin with his thumb.

I told myself to remember as I watched the waves roll by.

Again he read my thoughts and told me not to worry.

I told myself to remember.